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59.1: [The text of the blessing is:] “Blessed art Thou, L-rd our G-d, King of the Universe, Maker of (1)Light and Creator of Darkness”. They [who fixed the order of the prayers] set down that one should mention the characteristic of night [darkness] during the daytime, in order to reject the heretics who say that the One who created light did not create darkness.

MB 1: Light – [“Creator of Light” in Hebrew is “Yotzer Or”] One needs to pause between the words “Yotzer” and “Or” in order that it not sound like “Yotzeror”. And look in the Be’er Hetev and in the Sha`arei Tshuva what else they wrote about this. [The Be’er Hetev specifies that when saying “Maker of Light” one should touch his tefillin on his arm, and when saying “Creator of Darkness” he should touch that on his head.]

59.2: If one erred and said “Who by his word brings the evening” [the beginning of the blessing before Sh’ma in the Evening] and remembered (2) immediately and said “Creator of Light” and also ended correctly with “Creator of the Luminaries”, he has fulfilled his obligations. But if he said “Who by his word brings the evening” (3) and did NOT say “Creator of Light” or did NOT end with “Creator of the Luminaries”, then he has not fulfilled his obligation. And if he said “Creator of Light and Creator of Darkness, Who by his word brings the evening” and also ended “Who brings the evening” [closing of the evening blessing], there also he has not fulfilled his obligation. {RAMAH: (4) And it is the same if he said at the beginning (5) only “Creator of Light”, (6) if he ended with “Who brings the evening”, (7) he has NOT fulfilled his obligation.}

But if he ended “Creator of the Luminaries”, then since he began with “Creator of Light”, (8) he has fulfilled his obligation even though (9) he interrupted the blessing with “Who brings the evening”.

MB 2: Immediately – Only immediately, i.e., within “k’dei dibur” [the amount of time needed to greet one’s teacher: Shalom Aleicha, Rebbe], but if he did not remember so quickly, then he has not fulfilled his obligation, because the blessing which he began, “Blessed Art Thou O L-rd Our G-d King of the Universe” is not connected to “Creator of Light”, since he did not say it immediately. And even though the Shulhan Aruch wrote afterwards that one “did NOT say ‘Creator of Light'” [at all], it is the same if he DID say it, but not immediately. That is what the Pri Mgadim wrote in the name of the Bayit Chadash and the Prisha. However, in Derech HaHayyim, the author rules that even if he did not remember till near the end of the blessing, nevertheless since he did not yet end it, he does not need to start the blessing “Creator Of Light” from the beginning. Rather, he should only say “Creator of Light and Creator of Darkness …” , etc. through the end of the blessing “Creator of Luminaries” and in this way he fulfills his obligation. And this is how one should act in actual application, as we have written in the Biur Halacha.

MB 3: And did NOT say, etc. – Explanation: Even though he ended “Blessed Art Thou O Lord, Creator of the Luminaries”, since the beginning and the middle were not according to the law, he did not fulfill his obligation, and he needs to return to the very beginning,”Blessed art Thou, O L-rd our G-d, King of the Universe” and recite the entire text through “Creator of the Luminaries” – and see in the Biur Halacha.

MB 4: And it is the same – All authorities are of this opinion, [even the Shulhan Aruch] as is explained in the Beit Yosef [by the same author as the Shulhan Aruch] that the closing of the blessing certainly needs to be according to the law. And what the Shulhan Aruch wrote: ‘or did not end “Creator of the Luminaries”‘, he does not mean only in the case where one erred and said “Who by his word brings the evening” at first. He wrote it this way only in order to conclude the case he began writing about [i.e., where one erred and said at first “Who by his word brings the evening”]. And also what he wrote: ‘And if he said “Creator of Light and Creator of Darkness, Who by his word brings the evening”‘, etc., this is because he wanted to conclude in the end of the paragraph that if he ended with “Creator of the Luminaries”, he has fulfilled his obligation even though he interrupted the blessing with “Who brings the evening”, as explained in the Beit Yosef.

MB 5: ONLY “Creator of Light” – Explanation: He said the entire text of the blessing correctly, and only erred in the closing of the blessing, nevertheless he has not fulfilled his obligation, for he did not bless in the closing on the light which is beginning to shine on this day.

MB 6: if he ended “Who brings the evening” – And if he immediately remembered and said “Who forms the luminaries”, he has fulfilled his obligation. But if he paused after he said “Who brings the evening” long enough to great his teacher, he has not fulfilled his obligation even though he said “Who forms the luminaries” afterwards, and he must say the blessing of “Who forms light” again from the very beginning.

MB 7: He has NOT fulfilled his obligation – And if he erred and did not remember until he began to say “A great love” [“Ahava Raba”, the next blessing], he should not interrupt it in the middle. Rather he should complete the entire blessing of “Ahava Raba” and after that he should go back and say the blessing of “Who forms light” before the recital of Sh’ma.

MB 8: He has fulfilled his obligation – The essence of this paragraph is that there are two things in the blessing of “Who forms light” in the morning which are absolute requirements: 1) The beginning of the blessing or its middle must be according to the law, and (2) the closing of the blessing. And know that the same is true for the blessing of “Who brings the evening” of the evening prayer, as explained in the Talmud in Brachos 12a, see there.

MB 9: He interrupted the blessing with “Who brings the evening” – Even if he did so immediately after the opening of “Who forms light”, and said all the text of the evening blessing except the closing, nevertheless we do not say that the first words of “Who forms light” were negated by this.

Shalom Bresticker

Siman 59 The Laws of the first Blessing, “Who Created…”

59:3. Some say that an individual praying alone may recite the Kedusha in the first blessing, because it is only a recital [i.e. we just mention that the angels in heaven say it – to say Kedusha ourselves would require a minyan]. Others say that an individual (10) should omit this part, as it should only be said with a minyan. We should take this view into consideration, and an individual should be careful to only recite this part with the cantillations as one would read from the Torah. {Rama: The first opinion has already gained (11) widespread acceptance, and an individual may say it. (12) When one responds to this Kedusha one should say it (13) in a loud voice.}

MB 10: Should omit this part – he should say the introduction, that the angels “say with great fear: ‘Kadosh [Holy]'”, omit the succeeding words and immediately continue “and the Ofanim [another type of angel] etc. say ‘Boruch [Blessed]'” and again omit the rest. The Pri Chadash writes that if a person is praying by himself in synagogue because he was late for the Service, since there is a minyan present he may recite [the Kedusha] even in a whisper according to all opinions.

MB 11: Widespread acceptance – The Vilna Gaon agreed that the law should be according to the second opinion. But because one should not depart from the prevailing custom, it is appropriate to recite it with the cantillations like one who is reading verses. And so writes the Pri Megadim in the name of the Levush.

MB 12: When one responds – If possible one should say this Kedusha seated.

MB 13: In a loud voice – Only in a minyan, but an individual should say it silently, writes the Elyah Rabah. But the Sharei T’shuvah writes that there is no objection to saying it aloud even if praying alone.

59:4. (14) The blessing “Who created” and those of the Evening Service one should recite (15) with the Chazan, softly. {Rama: he should quickly finish (16) before the Chazan (17) and answer Amen (18) after him. But if he didn’t say it at all, but only (19) heard it from the Chazan, he has fulfilled his duty, because the Chazan can say (20) these blessings on behalf of an individual even if (21) the individual is well versed himself. But the Chazan cannot say them on behalf of (22) an individual (23) unless there is a minyan.} One should not say Amen after the conclusion “Who chose His nation, Israel, with love” (immediately before ‘Shema Yisroel’), because (24) it is an interruption. {See later (25) in Siman 61}.

MB 14: The blessing “Who created” – The same applies to all the blessings of Kriyas Sh’ma.

MB 15: With the Chazan – Even though according to the Law, even a well-versed individual may fulfill his duty by listening to and concentrating upon the blessings of the Chazan (because it is only the Amidah that the Chazan cannot say on behalf of someone well-versed, as we will see later in Siman 124, because the Amidah is [a prayer for] mercy and every individual must beseech mercy for himself), nevertheless one accustom himself to say it softly with the Chazan, because these are long blessings and it is not possible that a person can concentrate in total silence on [what] the Chazan [is saying] for so long. Today we are not accustomed to be careful to say only softly – Look in Biur Halacha.

MB 16: Before the Chazan – because while [he is in the] middle [of saying the blessings] he may not answer Amen as was explained in Siman 56.

MB 17: And answer Amen – but not ‘Blessed be He and Blessed be His Name’ because even in the Verses of Praise one may not interrupt to say this, as the Magen Avraham explains in Siman 124.

MB 18: After the Chazan – The same applies if he hears the conclusion of a blessing from someone else, irrespective of what blessing it was.

MB 19: Heard it from the Chazan – but only if he had in mind to fulfill his duty by listening to the Chazan, and the Chazan had in mind to fulfill the other’s duty, as we explained in 6:4.

MB 20: These blessings – of the Shema, and the same applies to all blessings, as we saw in Siman 6, apart from the Amida where the Chazan cannot fulfill the duty of someone well versed, as we will see in Siman 124.

MB 21: Well versed – and even if he has already fulfilled his own duty, he may still fulfill the duty of someone else, as we will see in Siman 69. The same applies to all blessings, as we will see in Siman 585 and 692, apart from blessings of Enjoyment (*) (ne’henin) where someone who has already fulfilled his duty cannot fulfill that of someone who still must make a blessing, as we will see in Siman 213:2, even if the latter is not well versed. [* – blessings of Enjoyment are those that we say when we derive pleasure from G-d’s world: over food, drink, pleasant smells, etc.]

MB 22: An individual – even if he is not well versed.

MB 23: Unless there is a minyan – This is only for the blessings on the Shema, and regarding the Morning Blessings the Levush is also stringent and treats them like those on the Shema. But other blessings, e.g. on Mitzvos or on Enjoyment, even one individual may fulfill the duty of another, even when the latter is well versed as we saw in Siman 8. However, for blessings on Enjoyment there are various differences: with regard to the blessing on bread or wine, according to all opinions the rule is as we stated and as mentioned at the beginning of Siman 193:1 but they are required to sit down in order to eat or drink together. With regards to Grace after Meals, if only two people ate they should bless separately unless one of them is not well-versed, in which case the other should fulfill his duty for him, as is mentioned in Siman 193, see there. With regard to other foods and blessings for enjoyment, apart from bread and wine, there are different views concerning both the blessings before and after as to whether you can fulfill the duty on behalf of someone else, as we will see in Siman 213, look there.

MB 24: An interruption – between the blessing and the Shema, in the same way as it is forbidden to interrupt between any performance of a Mitzvah or enjoyment on which there is a blessing, and the blessing that preceeds it. However, concerning the blessing “Who created” he agrees with the Rama that if he finished before the Chazan he should answer Amen, and see in the Biur Halacha.

MB 25: Siman 61 – In paragraph 3 in the Rama, he explains that it is also the custom with this blessing to finish before the Chazan and answer Amen after him, as the Darkei Moshe writes in this Siman. The reason is that the blessings of the Shema are not comparable to other blessings on Mitzvos because we don’t say ‘who commanded us to read the Shema.’ Rather, they are independent blessings that [the Sages] instituted to be said prior to saying the Shema, and one need not be concerned about an interruption between them and the Shema itself. Look in the later commentaries, who all quote the Rama as the law – that if one finishes the blessing before the Chazan one should say Amem after him. However, a priori, it is better to finish with the Chazan and avoid the need to answer Amen after him [which is the common practice in many places – YM]. Look in the Derech Hachaim who writes that one should not answer Amen on any other blessing between [the conclusion] of Ahavah Rabah and the Shema.

59:5. If [the Chazan] made a mistake in the blessing of Yoitzer in such a way that we must (26) replace him, if he made the mistake (27) from Kedusha onwards then the second [Chazan] only need continue from where the first stopped. {Rama: i.e. he starts (28) from Kedusha, but if he made a mistake before Kedusha he must begin (29) from the start.}

MB 26: Replace him – i.e. he doesn’t know how to get back to the right place.

MB 27: From Kedusha onwards – either in “And the Ofanim…” or in the concluding paragraph.

MB 28: From Kedusha – if he made a mistake in “And the Ofanim…” he must restart “And the Ofanim…”, and if it was in the concluding paragraph then he must restart that paragraph. Even though we have established later in Siman 126 that the second one should start from the beginning of the blessing in which the first one made the mistake, here it is different, because having answered “Kadosh, Kadosh [Holy, Holy – the first line of Kedusha]”, from there on is considered a new blessing.

MB 29: From the start – because we do not divide a blessing into two. All of this was only at the time when they were accustomed to fulfill the duty of saying the blessings of the Shema for others. Today, where the custom is that everyone says the blessings themselves and nobody fulfills his duty with the blessings of the Chazan, if the Chazan got mixed up in “Who created” or any other blessing, apart from the Amidah, the second Chazan may not go back and repeat that which he has already said himself. [And with printed Siddurim, it is practically impossible that a Chazan will need to step down because of confusion over the words.]

Jonathan Chody [email protected]